How and Why You Should Outsource Digital Marketing

How and Why You Should Outsource Digital Marketing

The vast majority of businesses have fully embraced the potential of the internet as a channel for new customers, and customer retention, and a smaller majority have come around to social media as well. Small businesses certainly can do digital marketing on their own, but this is rarely the most cost-effective option for them. Of course, small businesses are rightfully concerned that they might be outsourcing to “marketers” who will do more harm than good or who don’t really bring expertise to the table. Here are a few reasons you should still outsource, and some advice on how to do it properly.

OutsourcingPhoto: Royal Society of Chemistry

Why Outsource?

The fixed costs are one of the biggest reasons outsourcing is preferable. The average salary of a social media marketing manager according to is nearly $102,000 each year, before benefits. The cost of training is also extensive, since industry standards and expectations are constantly changing in the online space. It’s not uncommon for a digital marketing agency to spend $8,000 a year on training alone, for a single employee.

The variable costs are nothing to shake a stick at either. When one of your trained employees stays home sick, you lose valuable time spent on marketing. Social marketing and link building are ongoing processes. You can’t make up the work by putting in more hours later, because the opportunities are already lost. When you hire an agency there’s always another employee to step in and pick up the work. If an employee quits, the losses are even more substantial.

We live in a specialist economy for a reason. We all know the cliché: jack of all trades, master of none. Outsourcing allows you to focus your efforts where they are most useful: your area of expertise.

How to Outsource

There is, of course, a danger of going too far in the other direction. Businesses that buy online marketing “packages” and stay hands off can end up getting themselves in trouble. Nobody knows your customer base better than you, and the same goes for your business goals. Here are a few things to look for from a digital marketing agency:

–        A fluid approach – Even more technical marketing skills like SEO actually demand a great deal of creativity and branding considerations. Your digital marketer should have ideas to bring to the table, but they shouldn’t walk into the conversation with a linear, mechanical process. The best approach is going to depend on your unique business goals.

–        Outreach and relationship building – Whether the marketing agency is promising search engine results or social media engagement, all effective online campaigns rest on the ability to communicate influentially. Online marketers need to build trust with your customer base and the people who influence them.

–        Content expertise – Likewise, no online marketing campaign is complete without experts capable of producing content that people will want to consume. The online space is not the captive audience of television and radio. Consumers will only read your blog posts and watch your videos if they genuinely enjoy them or find them helpful.

–        An emphasis on data – If there’s only one advantage that online marketing has over traditional marketing, it’s the plethora of freely and cheaply available data. ROI, channel attribution, and so on are far more easily measured online than offline. Digital marketing agencies should be able to report not just results, but the connection between efforts and results. They should also find ways to use the data predicatively and prescriptively, to assure steadily improving results.

Remember, digital marketing is not mechanical. It requires adaptation and creativity in order to be effective.

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